We all knew Pau Gasol’s numbers would dip a bit when Dwight Howard joined the team. Pau was going to get fewer shot opportunities and rebound chances with the new big man in the lineup.
That said, the dip was only supposed to be a slight one. What we’ve seen this year so far from Gasol is abysmal. He has shrunk and failed to adjust in Mike D’Antoni’s new system.
Last season, in 65 games, Gasol had 42 double-doubles. This season, he’s only done it six times in 17 games.
What’s even more troubling is the Lakers record when Pau shows up and earns a double-double compared to when he doesn’t. The Lakers are 4-2 this season when he gets to the 10 and 10 mark. On the contrary, they’re just 4-7 when he doesn’t.
Moral of the story: Pau is a valuable component to Laker wins and he hasn’t been performing well this season.
Let’s look at the basic stats first.
Before this season, one could almost guarantee that Pau would net 18 and 10. In fact, he consistently averaged between 17 and 18 points per game between 2007 and 2012. Now, he’s averaging a career-low 12.6 points per game. Pau’s rebounds are also down to 8.8 per game, well below his career average.
Perhaps the most glaring stat of all is Pau’s field goal percentage. He’s shooting a career low 42 percent this season. That may be decent for a guard, but it’s awful for Pau, who shot 50 percent last season and 58 percent back in 2008.
Looking at advanced stats, we see that Pau’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is down by five points from last year. He had a 20 PER last season and this year it’s just 15. He’s been average at best. He still contributes, but he needs to take it up to above-average levels if the Lakers are going to bid farewell to mediocrity.
While Pau is still grabbing 20 percent of all rebound opportunities, which is near last year’s levels, his offensive production per 100 possessions has slacked off dramatically. Back in 2008-09, Pau helped produce 126 points per 100 possessions. This year, that number is down to just 105.
Offensive win shares? Down, too. Pau is only contributing to 0.6 wins due to his offense. That number at 10 two years ago.
Pau is struggling in every possible way offensively. Kobe Bryant has criticized him and told the media that there shouldn’t be any excuse for him to adjust to the new offense. It’ll be interesting to see how Pau responds to these criticisms from Kobe. He usually has exploded and played motivated basketball after Kobe chews him up. However, has Pau had enough? And if he doesn’t improve, will the Lakers finally decide to trade him?
Stay tuned, folks.